The hits just keep on coming for News Corp.

By Maria Torres

Yesterday, the wife of Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, filed a lawsuit against News Corp.

Cherie Blair’s lawyer, Graham Atkins, told the Associated Press by email that that she is suing “in relation to the unlawful interception of her voicemails.”

This latest action against Rupert Murdoch’s News International joins a string of lawsuits accusing the organization of hacking. When word got out in July that News of the World hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl, Murdoch shut down the tabloid in order to save face. But all that did was cast suspicion on how News of the World obtained information people had assumed was private.

Tony Blair’s former spokesman, Alastair Campbell, always wondered how the 1999 story of Cherie Blair’s pregnancy was leaked. He had assumed one of her friends told the media. After the News of the World shutdown, he released a written testimony last year in which “he said he was ‘now certain that I was mistaken in my belief,’ leaving open the possibility that the newspaper had received the information by listening in on Cherie Blair’s messages.”

The News International hacking scandal has grown into an even wider issue now that Cherie Blair is accusing the organization for that violation of privacy. The AP article says that Blair is “one of the most high-profile people to have challenged Murdoch’s News International”.

Sixty cases against News Corp. have thus far been settled outside of court. Police estimate that lawsuits may still be brought by more than 800 possible victims.

The issues here not only have to do with credibility but also with ethics.

Journalists are supposed to report the most accurate version of the truth. But how far as they supposed to go in order to do that?

It is clearly unethical — not to mention illegal — to hack into anything. What could have possessed those News of the World reporters stoop to such levels? There are many more tools for them to have used in order to get information.

Now that this scandal is climbing to unthinkable heights, everyone will have reason to doubt any assertions made by the media. What other choice do they have when it has been proven that the media can and will hack into voicemails for the sake of getting a story?

So, has the News International hacking scandal ruined the credibility of the entire journalistic world?


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